A cover letter functions like a jacket for your resume; it can cover and highlight your values explicitly or implicitly based on how you present it. Most candidates believe cover letter is unimportant, but the first chance to impress the recruiter is by avoiding common cover letter mistakes. While a good cover letter boosts your candidacy, a poorly written cover letter can kill your dreams in a wink!
Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Errors and Ways to Avoid Them Like a Pro
A cover letter comes in handy when the hiring manager is assessing your candidacy or doing the background check or on your profile. Universally, cover letters are focused as much as a resume. This is why knowing what to avoid in a cover letter is necessary to outwit your contenders as well.
We have compiled the ten commonest cover letter writing errors amongst freshers and experienced resumes.
1. Assuming the Cover Letter is Merely a Formality
It is true that over 90% hiring managers vouched that they never check the cover letter of a candidate while 53% confessed that they select resumes that come with a well-written cover letter. In short, a cover letter definitely adds value to your resume.
Candidates must always send a cover letter with every resume submission, regardless of its size or style.
2. Following a Generic Style of Formatting for Resume cover Letter
Your cover letter must highlight how perfectly you fit as a candidate or in short, it must not be boring. Filing your cover letter with jargon and frequently used terminology will lead to the manager rejecting it. Avoid cliché introductions in the cover letter and plunge directly into why the recruiter must offer you the job when drafting a cover letter.
3. Focusing on Irrelevant Details that adds no value to your Resume
Candidates must add details that boost the value of your cover letter than clutter it with irrelevant anecdotes or work experiences. In addition, using your cover letter to emphasize the same phrases in your resume portrays derogatory desperation on your part.
4. Wrong Choice of Cover Letter Type
Candidates must pick a Cover Letter Type that applies to their qualifications and needs. From friends to acquaintances and well-wishers, a cover letter is sent to a wide variety of people. Some of the commonly used cover letters are
- Job Application Cover Letter,
- Referral cover Letter,
- Email Cover Letter,
- Networking cover Letter,
- Inquiry Cover Letter,
- Prospecting Cover Letter.
5. Keeping the Cover Letter Around one Central Topic : You
You must make the most of a cover letter by sharing what interests you most about the company you are applying to join. Avoid cluttering the cover letter by rehashing your resume. Simply put, stop selling yourself as a desperate candidate in the resume. Share an anecdote on how you first heard about the company or why you are excited to join the same!
You can also mention the benefit of the employer in hiring you to highlight your expertise as a qualifying candidate too. You can also elaborate on relevant jobs condensed in the resume to emphasize your candidacy.
6. Sharing Unnecessary or Uncomfortable Personal Information
A cover letter is prominently used to elaborate information that does not fit in the format of a resume. If you have red flags such as criminal history or gap years in your resume, it is best to avoid listing the same in the cover letter unless it is mandatory. It is best to avoid cringing information in a resume cover letter to avail a fair chance to be interviewed.
7. Informal Greetings and Salutations
It is necessary to maintain a formal air to your professional documents and the best way to do so is by avoiding informal salutations in the Cover Letter. Use standard salutations such as “Dear”, “Truly” or “Sincerely” to open and close your cover letter.
Yet another important thing to research prior to sending your cover letter is the address or the name of the person you are sending your documents too. It is best to find and write the name of the hiring manager you are sending your professional records to, in lieu of “Whomsoever it may concern”.
8. Failure to Follow Explicit Instructions
Hiring managers who conduct online interviews often attach specific questionnaires or request specific documents to include in the cover letter. It is important to read the job description inside out to verify any of the same. Moreover, it is not uncommon for the recruiter to request information that must be specified in the cover letter. If you forget to read the application through, the manager will conclude that you are not a detail-oriented candidate due to the mistake on the cover letter!
9. Ideal Length of a Resume Cover Letter is Short
Succinctness is an acquired skill and it is difficult to learn the same when you are writing the cover letter for the first time in your life. Hence, start by going through sample cover letters that apply to your job application. After assessing the common length of the resume cover letter, crosscheck with the job description for any word limits.
Cover Letter Writing Experts recommend keeping the length of a cover letter as 4-5 paragraphs to be on the safe side of the hiring process. Avoid presenting walls of text and remember to breakdown or condense your overlong points. Moreover, a lengthy Cover Letter is a straight ticket to the trash pile!
10. Skipping the Proofreading Session of Your Cover Letter
Proofreading is important to cite the petty errors that go unnoticed when the author creates a self-written document, especially if it is handwritten. A cover letter grammar mistake or one that is full of typos is proof of your poor communication and writing skills.
It is best to run your resume cover letter through a friend or computer to reassure that the document is free of grammatical, syntactic or semantic errors.
In a Nutshell
From length to style and formatting, there are many ways to impress the hiring manager even before he or she has scanned the resume.
The cover letter must underline your candidacy and boost the technical value of your resume. To do so, you must follow the above ten expert tips to prevent usual cover letter mistakes.